aeronca65t New Reader
7/10/08 4:01 a.m.

Hybrids are dangerous!

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A Japanese labor bureau has ruled that one of Toyota's top car engineers died from working too many hours, the latest in a string of such findings in a nation where extraordinarily long hours for some employees has long been the norm. The man who died was aged 45 and had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota's blockbuster Camry line, said Mikio Mizuno, the lawyer representing his wife. The man's identity is being withheld at the request of his family, who continue to live in Toyota City where the company is based. In the two months up to his death, the man averaged more than 80 hours of overtime per month, according to Mizuno.

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GregW New Reader
7/10/08 6:11 a.m.

"haulin' out the Data on the Xerox line." So says the song. I just do not understand a culture that demands so much loyalty to the company or workgroup. I wonder if the sacrifice is appreciated. American companies would love to have that effort but would never pay for it or support the widow.

captainzib New Reader
7/10/08 7:20 a.m.

I agree, but personally I think there should be some level of balance between the two. It seems that (in my opinion from personal observation), that the American work ethic could use a little improvement, and that the Japanese work ethic could be tamed down a bit without losing too much in the way of quality.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/10/08 7:26 a.m.

I think we need to determine what 80 hours of overtime per month actually equates to. If that means he is working 60 hour weeks then I know of a bunch of us that may die at any time.

What is the Japanese standard work week?

bastomatic Dork
7/10/08 7:37 a.m.

46 hours, last time I checked.

ClemSparks SuperDork
7/10/08 8:35 a.m.

From my experience...there is no real standard. You work until the work is done and then you go drink.

Seriously though...they work a LOT of hours!

Clem (Works for a Japanese company, albeit in the US)

Raze New Reader
7/10/08 11:28 a.m.

Hey he had almost 7 hours/day to sleep, lazy dude...

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
7/10/08 11:47 a.m.

Assuming a 5-day workweek, 80 hours a month would be working about 12 hours a day.

Raze New Reader
7/10/08 11:52 a.m.

I stand corrected, I thought it was 80 hrs/week which is why I can understand death, but only 80 hrs/month? That's lame, some people around here are on MANDATORY 15 hrs/week overtime...

P90Puma Reader
7/10/08 12:34 p.m.

My dad pulled in 144 hours of OT a month for 3 MONTHS solid

5 day x 12 hour work weeks and 2 8hr shifts a weekend.

I don't know how he does/did it, I couldn't do the same, but he didn't drop dead.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/10/08 1:08 p.m.

My current schedule= M 6:45a-8:15p T 6:45a-6:15p W 6:45a-6:15p Th 6:45a-6:15p F 6:45a-6:15p

I average 15 hours per week overtime minimum after lunches. I do nothing other than talk to you guys and people who own or work on VWs so whatever my base pay is I am overpaid.

I could add 20 hours per month to that schedule without flinching but I am happy I don't need to.

skruffy Dork
7/10/08 2:04 p.m.

Around here we work until it's time to drink, then we work some more tomorrow. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

ignorant SuperDork
7/10/08 2:42 p.m.

probably wasn't just the "work" but the stress and pressure management was putting him under.. ugh

Jensenman SuperDork
7/10/08 3:25 p.m.
ignorant wrote: probably wasn't just the "work" but the stress and pressure management was putting him under.. ugh

That'll do it. Being under the gun for someone else's nearly impossible schedule can really get to you, if you let it. John Brown knows what I'm talking about.

I went in to get poked and prodded and suffer various other indignities so I can keep my TT license (we old farts gotta do that every 2 years), the doc asked what I do for a living and I said service advisor. He immediately ordered an EKG to check for stress related heart problems. I guess he doesn't understand that whole 'thick skin' thing.

yo vanilla
yo vanilla New Reader
7/10/08 5:55 p.m.

The interesting thing is that the average American workweek surpassed the Japanese a decade ago ;)

Type Q
Type Q Reader
7/10/08 6:59 p.m.

I suspect the 80 hours per month figure is deceptive. This what was officially reported. In practise, almost no Japanese white collar employee arives after his or her boss in the morning or quits working and goes home before the boss in the evening. For lower level professional employees that can turn into 6:00 am to 10:00 pm workday pretty quickly.

MitchellC New Reader
7/10/08 8:43 p.m.

From what I hear, Japanese are expected to spend crazy hours at the office, but it doesn't really equate to more work. It's more the appearance of work that's important (maybe this is a universal concept, though).

steved033 New Reader
7/14/08 8:30 p.m.

My schedule gets nuts from time to time.

nuts busy at work, then fly out to a race, work wednesday through sunday or monday, then back to regular work the next day.

August is shaping up to have two days off.


MadScientistMatt HalfDork
7/15/08 9:43 a.m.
MitchellC wrote: From what I hear, Japanese are expected to spend crazy hours at the office, but it doesn't really equate to more work. It's more the appearance of work that's important (maybe this is a universal concept, though).

Very true. Back when I worked at Amada, I remember one of my American co-workers had to stay late and saw one of the Japanese guys just sitting in his cubicle obviously wasting time - reading a book, playing cards, or some such thing. So Jim asked him, "Hey, Yoshi, why haven't you left yet?"

"Because the boss is still here."

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/15/08 11:39 a.m.

So how did working overtime actually kill him? I am assuming that he had a stress-related heart attack or similar incident. So if he stayed home, with the wife and kids yelling at him, living in a tiny house with a tiny little bathtub and the grandparents living there and eating only raw fish...he probably extended his life by months by staying at work!

jwdmotorsports New Reader
7/15/08 2:27 p.m.

I heard a Japanese manager say one time that he works until he is tired and then goes to bed. Meaning, he worked 18+ hours a day.

It is very much true that you can't leave until the boss does. I've watched a whole office of Japanese associates leave right after the boss does.

ignorant SuperDork
7/15/08 6:16 p.m.

Toyota hired heavy from the class 2 years after mine. Many of my friends work for them. They work your ass to death. That startup in San Antonio, for the tundra 80 hour weeks easy.. You don't show up.. Get another job. They pay good.. But E36 M3.

My friends who work for Honda, don't work THAT hard.. but they do work you hard.

What I've gleaned from my friends is that they pay you a good to marginal wage at Honda and Toyota. They then give you all the overtime you want to make the wage as good as possible. Some of my friends were 1 year out of school and puling 80k.. of course.. their hair was falling out.

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